Laura Cantrell was born and raised in Nashville, and even though she was surrounded by country music, she never thought about being a singer or songwriter when she was young. She relocated to New York to attend Columbia University before the performing bug bit her. After graduation, Cantrell worked full-time at a bank, hosted a country radio show on WFMU in Jersey City, put together a band, kept writing songs and started making records. She used traditional country songs as a template for compositions of her own that stretched the boundaries of the music and won her a legion of loyal fans. BBC DJ John Peel called Not The Tremblin’ Kind, her 2000 debut, “my favorite record of the last 10 years, possibly my life.” Cantrell made two more albums in the 2000s, balancing well-chosen covers with her original material, but on her new album, No Way There From Here, she presents 11 originals with only one cover. Cantrell will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.
Cantrell: Last fall, I was honored to interview these four elder ladies of the Grand Ole Opry for the Oxford American music issue: Country Music Hall of Famer Jean Shepard, Grammy-nominated Jan Howard, Grammy winner Jeannie Seeley and hit singer/songwriter Jeanne Pruett. Truly compelling pioneers from country’s classic era, with plenty of songs and tales to share. If you’re in Nashville, check one of them out at venues like the Opry or the Ernest Tubb’s Midnight Jamboree. And if you want to read what it was like to be a female artist on the road in the 1950s and 1960s, check out Howard’s autobiography Sunshine And Shadow or Shepard’s upcoming autobiography, due out this year.
Video after the jump.